The most Popular Posts of the past seven days.

Feb 29, 2020

The Golden Ray

New information about the MV* Golden Ray in an article in Popular Mechanics.

* #1, the MV stands for merchant Vessel.

They too report the cars on board are new Hyundai and Kia vehicles, though they do not say where they were manufactured. Officials at the Hyundai plant in Montgomery told me the Hyundia models did not come from their plant. Another source I've quoted says they were made in Mexico (and there is at least one huge Kia plant there) and were headed for the Middle-East.

The magazine also reports how little room for error there was when the ship capsized---as little as one foot in depth--- in maneuvering the 656-ft long car carrier through the waters off the Brunswick, Georgia coast!

"A sound is a narrow, inland-pointing arm of ocean often made by the ocean flooding a riverbed, like a delta without the mingling and silt. St. Simons Sound has an estimated maximum overall depth of 32 feet—think of this number like the minimum height for a highway, including low bridges—with a jagged, sharp, rocky bottom. The Golden Ray has a draft, or depth from waterline to keel bottom when the ship is fully loaded, of over 31 feet."

     Meanwhile, workers are constructing the barrier that will surround the ship and contain the debris--including broken up new cars!---when they slice the ship into seven pieces to transport them to a salvage yard. Seventy pilings are being driven into the seabed to contain the barrier surrounding the ship.

Feb 28, 2020

Least Energy Efficient S.E. Power Company: Alabama Power

Least Energy Efficient Power Company in the South-East, says ACEEE:

The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization, acts as a catalyst to advance energy efficiency policies, programs, technologies, investments, and behaviors. We aim to build a vibrant and equitable economy – one that uses energy more productively, reduces costs, and promotes the health, safety, and well-being of everyone.

Friday in Lent, for Catholics, means NO MEAT. (Impossible Burgers too?)

"The Catholic Church instructs members to abstain from meat on Ash Wednesday and Fridays during Lent, a season of penitence and renewal leading up to Easter. The practice of forgoing meat dates to the early Church, when meat was considered a luxury, and is meant to be an act of self-discipline.
The question of whether plant-based burgers count as meat may sound silly, but it offers insight into how people of faith think about their dietary rules and traditions as food technology rapidly advances. Although plant-based meat is a much smaller industry than traditional meat, plant-based meat sales increased roughly 10 percent in the year leading up to April 2019, according to the Good Food Institute, which advocates for plant-based alternatives to animal products."
                                                                                          From a Washington Post story HERE                 

Feb 27, 2020

Roll Call vote on bill against occupation taxing ability


HERE'S THE 27-7 roll call vote in the Alabama Senate prohibiting the City of Montgomery from deciding whether to impose an occupation tax on  people working in the city.

HERE's The 74-27 roll call vote in the Alabama House.


U.S. Families Are Getting Larger

PEW has the report:

"The increase in household size is significant because it could have implications for national economic growth. Rising household size reduces the demand for housing, resulting in less residential construction and less demand for home appliances and furniture. In general, it leads to a less vigorous housing sector—fewer apartment leases and home purchases, as well as less spending related to housing, such as cable company subscriptions and home accessories."

Birmingham Church Bomber up for Parole in 2021

The Chicago Crusader newspaper reports
1963 Birmingham16th Street Baptist Church bomber Thomas Blanton will be considered for parole next year.

     The FBI knew the identity of the bombers by 1965, but did nothing. J. Edgar Hoover was the FBI Director and was an outspoken opponent of the Civil Rights Movement.

     There was basically no serious bombing investigation till Bill Baxley was elected Attorney General. He reopened the case in 1970. 
     Blanton was brought to trial in 1980 and prosecuted by current Alabama U.S. Senator Doug Jones. He won a conviction for Blanton and Bobby Frank Cherry for killing Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson and Denise McNair.

     The parole hearing for Blanton will come 45 years after a white supremicist wrote to Baxley complaining about his bombing investigations. Baxley's reply?


Killing the "Dixie Highway" least in part of Florida.

Image result for The Dixie Highway map "....a 5,786-mile route spanning ten states, stretches from Michigan to Florida. First conceived during the early 20th century, the highway borrows its name from a moniker for the American South—particularly those states that belonged to the Confederacy."  


 Ironically, the Dixie Highway did not run through Alabama.

On the other hand, the Dixie Overland Highway, an East-West route, ran across the state.

Again, Ironically, it was the same route, Highway 80, that the Civil Rights protestors would follow during the storied Selma-to-Montgomery Voting Rights March in 1965.

Now, Smithsonian Magazine reports, one part of the Dixie Highway in Florida, near Miami, is being renamed for Harriet Tubman:

"In their resolution to rename the highway, the commissioners note that “Dixie represents a troubling time in our nation’s past, marred by the inhumane celebration and unconscionable profit of the perils of racism, segregation, and the atrocities of slavery.”

Feb 26, 2020


Men: Can you keep your beard and wear a mask if the virus reaches where you live?

The Centers for Disease Control has a nifty graphic for that very purpose:

The guide is on this CDC webpage.

The CDC also has a great Coronavirus webpage HERE

Y'all? Sessions' Southern Drawl

Does Session pronounced southern accent allow people to prejudge him?

"Research at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications could suggest whether Sessions’ strong regional southern accent – which no doubt helps him in his current race for his old Senate seat in Alabama — might make people elsewhere in the United States automatically view him with some prejudice, irrespective of his views."

                                                                                             From a story in The Hill website

Feb 25, 2020

Long Time Coming ASU Interpretive Center Finally Opening

    The third of three Selma-to-Montgomery March interpretive centers--- the one at Alabama State University--- will open on the 55th Anniversary of the march---March 25th. But the public can get a sneak peek this weekend: Saturday from 8 -4:30, on Sunday from 8:00 - 6:00. Exhibits are still being installed.


Groundbreaking for the center took place in 2014.

     It was supposed to open in 2015, in time for the 50th anniversary of the march, which had drawn then-President Obama and former President George W. Bush to our area.

ASU's president Ross talks about the Center.

     The building was completed in 2017.

     The U.S. Park Service signed an agreement with ASU to operate the center in 2018. 
     It’s been  a decade since ASU won a competition to be home to the center, beating out The City of Saint Jude on Fairview Avenue, where the marchers spent the final night before continuing to the Capitol, and The Mount Zion AME Zion Church.

     The other interpretive centers are in downtown Selma, where the march began, and in Lowndes County the midpoint in the march. The National Park Service names them this way:

The Lowndes Interpretive Center
The Selma Interpretive Center

     ASU Officials say the Montgomery Interpretive center will be called: The Montgomery Interpretive Center at ASU, and will focus on ASU student involvement in the march.

     The center will be operated by the U.S. Park Service, which is hiring a dozen ASU students as paid interns to work at the center. 

     Floyd Myers is the superintendent of the National Park Service's Selma-to-Montgomery National Historic Trail. He joined ASU President Quinton Ross at the press conference.

Artist Mose Tolliver's Grandson

     The owner of the Wetumpka art gallery that sells Mose Tolliver's work confirms that a Montgomery man suspected of shooting a woman four times is the artist's grandson.

      "I spoke with Jimmy Tolliver and can now confirm that this  IS Mose T’s grandson, Mose Tolliver III, son of Mose Tolliver, Jr."
                                                         Marcia Webber, owner
                                                          Marcia Webber Art Objects

The Montgomery Advertiser reported the incident  on Monday, but did not connect the suspect to the artist.

"Mose Tolliver III, 37, was booked into the Montgomery County Jail on Saturday, after a woman was shot four times inside the home in the 2400 block of Fifth Street on Feb. 16" 

Statehouse Locked and Loaded

     The photo below shows an 11 year old girl and her Grandfather in the statehouse in Idaho. She is carrying a loaded AR15 rifle, making a point about a bill expanding that state's "open carry" law to visitors to the state.

It made me wonder whether anybody---11 year old girl or anyone else---would be permitted in the Alabama Statehouse with an AR15.
Alabama Statehouse, House Chamber
     The full Idaho story is HERE. Charles Nielsen, 58, and his 11-year-old granddaughter, Bailey Nielsen, testify before a House panel at the Idaho Statehouse on Monday. Feb. 24, 2020 in Boise, Idaho. Visitors to Idaho 18 and older who can legally possess firearms would be allowed to carry a concealed handgun within city limits under legislation that headed to the House on Monday, Feb. 24.

Feb 24, 2020

New Primary Election Voter Registration Numbers

     The Alabama Secretary of State's office has released the numbers for voter registrations leading up to the Alabama Primary election a week from tomorrow.

They say the number of registered voters is higher than ever: 3,576,107.

It means there are 509,375 more registered voters than in the 2016 election, and 587,893 more than in the 2012 presidential election.

The state population is 4,908,621

Of that number 3,765,887 are adults.

The numbers means there are 3,576,107 registered voters of the 3,765,887 Alabama adults of voting age. And189,780 adults are not registered. About 45,000 adult Alabama residents are in prison and may therefore be ineligible to vote.

Of course being registered and actually voting are two very different things.  Turnout is much lower.

In 2016  1,260,551 Alabamians voted in the primary elections, twice as many in the Republican Primary as in the Democratic Primary.

There is no party registration in Alabama, so people can choose which primary to vote in next month...but in the event of a runoff, they can only take part if they voted in the primary that resulted in the runoff.

In some election years, Democrats vote in the GOP primary to select the weakest candidate, and vis versa. 

399,899 voted in the 2016 Democratic Primary
860,652 voted in the 2016 GOP Primary

Registered Voter totals for last three presidential primary elections:

2020: 3,576,107
2016: 3,066,732
2012: 2,988,214


"School Choice"

     The State of Alabama is front and center in an article posted at over the weekend.

 "Today advocates of “school choice” routinely use the language of civil rights to argue that federal and state governments should finance largely unregulated private schools through the use of vouchers."

"The first formal Southern state plan to block desegregation after 1954 was in Alabama, where segregationists proposed a “freedom of choice” plan without regard to race. It provided for “parent choice” within a public-private system of education, funded by state revenues and guided by a state policy to “promote the education of its citizens in a manner and extent consistent with its available resources, and the willingness and ability of the individual student.” This quoted phrase, in fact, meant that Alabama eliminated a right of education of all children from its state constitution and made the education of state’s children subject to what segregationists considered to be “available resources” and the “ability” of different children to learn."

   Only four of the largest private schools in one list are in Montgomery. Mobile seems to be the state center for private schools, with eleven on the list of 35.

Feb 23, 2020

Golden Ray updates

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports a legal entanglement in the plant to slice the ship into eight pieces and carry them by barge to salvage yards:

Feb 22, 2020

About The 2 Cops Per Car Proposal

     New Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed wants to use some of the money raised by an occupation tax to pay for increasing the police force enough to always have two officers in every car on patrol.

     My first thought: would that have prevented the 2016 shooting death of Greg Gunn by officer Aaron Smith, who was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the death.

     Would two officers be better able to handle Gun (if he was trying to assault Smith, as the officer claimed)? 
     And perhaps just as important, would the presence of a second officer have prevented the shooting in the first place? Would it tend to reduce illegal or against-regulation activities by police. In other words,would an officer be more likely to follow procedures like turning on body cameras and not use weapons unless absolutely necessary if he or she knew there was someone present to testify later?

Feb 21, 2020

Some end of the week random thoughts:

  • If the legislature bans parents from smoking in cars in which children are present, should they also ban the playing of hate talk radio shows and music that includes obscene or racist lyrics? 
  • Will voters on March 3rd really approve the constitutional amendment and give up their right to elect the Alabama State School Board, letting the Governor select the members, because after all, who knows better? Voters or The Guv? (And if so, would they also give up their right to elect city council members for the same reason? Let their mayor pick 'em?
  •  Will the House-approved medical marijuana bill result in major anxiety for opponents? Great---the bill allows marijuana prescriptions to treat anxiety. A two-fer!
  • Should opponents of the Montgomery Occupational Tax be required to have large signs on their vehicles to alert city funded services like police and fire, so they can direct those drivers to go to their home towns for assistance?

Feb 20, 2020

Corruption in Alabama

Good News Alabama!
We aren't even ranked in a new study of corrupt States by the University of Chicago (where they know a lot about corruption).

The study ranks D.C. (where there are a lot of politicians and apparently a lot of corruption) as #1, with 16.79 convictions per 10k of population.

Of course it could also mean that corrupt politicians in Alabama just have not been caught! Or not convicted!

Speaking of, former Speaker of The Alabama House Mike Hubbard is still out of jail, and he was not only convicted but sentenced to four years in prison (four years ago in July!) There is some speculation that the Alabama Supreme Court is waiting till after the November elections to rule on his appeal.


St. Simons Sound Wreck Removal Animation

Here's a helpful animation to show how the capsized car-carrier ship the Golden Ray Ray will be sliced into seven sections for removal from the waters off Brunswick  Georgia. The ship overturned as it exited the port of Brunswick last year, carrying almost 10,000 new automobiles. There are conflicting reports about the make and model of those cars. As you watch the animation, picture the cutting cable slicing not only the ship, but the cars inside too.

Feb 19, 2020

Two Selma Musicals Open---One Up North, The other in Selma

Have you ever witnessed a production and thought, “This is so moving, so impressive, so stirring and informative – this ...-

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom, a new musical filled with traditional and original Gospel and Freedom songs, tells the moving and inspiring true story of Lynda Blackmon Lowery, the youngest person to walk all the way from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, on the Voting Rights March in 1965. Jailed nine times before her 15th birthday, Lynda, and her friends and neighbors, fought alongside Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. to secure the right to vote for African Americans. Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club, High Art , Psych), adapted the award-winning memoir by Lynda Blackmon Lowery (Dial Press, 2016) for the stage. Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom is directed by Fracaswell Hyman.  The Music Director is Joshuah Brian Campbell.  Producers are Lynda Blackmon Lowery, Miranda Barry, and Amy Sprecher. 


You can hear some of the songs and learn more about the show HERE

Surely this production will come "home" to Selma at some point? 

Meanwhile another Civil Rights Selma musical will open in Selma next month: